New York

Marlene Oliver

Ward-Nasse Gallery

Marlene Oliver’s paintings depend on a kind of opticality that links them with Zacharias in their use of opposed colors, contrasts of hard edges with sprayed gradations, and a kind of indifference to paint as a material—as opposed to an exclusively optical—element. Unlike Zacharias, though, Oliver has little or no control over the space she manipulates. Her paintings are billed as paintings on plexiglass, and the advertisement for the show has a picture in which she is reflected in the surface of one of her works. This is quite misleading, since the effect of the plexiglass is to shut the viewer out of the space of the painting rather than to include one within it.

Oliver seems—she wasn’t available for comment on the occasions I tried to get in touch with her—to paint on the back of the plexiglass and then turn it around, a kind of instant glazing anticipated, I believe, in Bavarian folk

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